First Night Hartford is still on, but scaled back due to COVID spike

Hartford

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – First Night Hartford is back with in-person live fun, though scaled back because of an increase in COVID-19 cases.

The free ice skating at Winterfest in Bushnell Park remains.

11-year-old Marquis Marquez and his 9-year-old sister Madison are giving it a whirl.

“It’s cold. I fell down like three times,” Marquis said.

The COVID spike chaos is bringing caution. Organizers are closing some of the 12 venues in the official program guide. The Hartford Public Library Biblio-Discoteca is now canceled as are two downtown indoor church venues. Instead, performances will be streamed online.

Taneisha Duggan, the Organizer for First Night Hartford, says the show will go on.

“I think people are looking for organizations like ours to say we are coming back. We are going to do it safely,” Duggan said.

There are still a lot of things to do outside. At night, glow lights and street artist performances will take place.

Adriana Warkowski from New Britain says you can’t stop living.

“I am really happy. They need to come out for their own mental health just to enjoy the fresh air,” Warkowski said.

This year, for the first time, a central main stage on Trinity Street, beneath the Soldier and Sailors Arch.

“We are going to do it with each other in mind. But we are going to keep our traditions going,” Duggan said.

At 6 p.m. and midnight, two separate fireworks shows will take place over Bushnell Park, and if you go to the XL Center for the Hartford Wolf Pack hockey game you get a First Night Button for free.

Buttons can also be purchased in-person at Winterfair: Hartford’s Holiday Market on Pratt Street, or online.

For some like Vanessa Mojica, ringing in the New Year will mean staying in New Britain away from crowds.

“I’m just going to hang at home with family this year,” Mojica said.

Whether it’s family fun or adult fun, there are events happening around the state for New Year’s. You can visit the Connecticut tourism site here.

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